Dealing with Fleas Home

There are areas in the country where a flea is rarely seen and where dog owners do not know what a flea looks like. Other areas are virtually flea-free in the winter months but infestations of fleas are not uncommon in the warmer months. Unfortunately, in the South fleas are omnipresent. 

We use Advantage for fleas. Advantage is made by Bayer who also makes Advantix. Don't confuse the two. The info on this page is about Advantage.  The major competitors to Advantage are Frontline and Frontline Plus.

All of the literature regarding the above mentioned products assures pet owners that pets who are treated as directed with these products will remain flea-free for at least a month even if the pet is bathed or goes swimming. I have found this not to be the case. When I first tried Advantage and Frontline - when they were new products - I was amazed at how well they worked. Whether they worked better for me then because I only had 2 dogs who spent little time outside and who were bathed less often than my current dogs or whether our fleas have become resistant to these products is anyone's guess but the result is that I have had to work much harder in recent years to keep the fleas to a minimum.

The reason we use Advantage instead of Frontline is that the company (and the vet) have told me that it is safe to use weekly if the dog has been bathed since the last time it was used. I have not been able to find that it would be safe to do the same with Frontline. (An extra added attraction is that the Advantage tube is easily reclosable and the Frontline is not.)

These products can become expensive. (Cheaper products are even more expensive because they don't work) You can use these products and still save money if you follow my suggestions:

A four month supply of Advantage for a dog up to 10 pounds contains a total of 1.6 ml. and costs $38.99. A four month supply of the same compound for a dog over 55 pounds contains a total of 16 ml and costs $42.99.  (This is the cost at petco.com in Nov. '04). This breaks down as follows:

1.6 ml (approx. 32 drops -8 drops per monthly dose) @ 38.99 = 24.36 per ml
 16 ml (approx. 320 drops - 80 drops per monthly dose) @ 42.99 = 2.68 per ml.

If you don't like math think of it this way:

Ten times the amount for only $4.00 more!

For an 8 pound dog, this would save you around $70. a year - that's a lot of Kongs!

How to Administer

Read the package instructions to see where to put the drops on your dog. This is not medicine that is given to the dog internally!

I was originally told to use 1 drop of Advantage for every 2 pounds of dog weight. This means a 4 pound dog would get 2 drops, a ten pound dog would get 5 drops. When that amount didn't seem to be working as well as I wanted I decided to figure it out for myself, and more exactly.

If you read all the information on the Advantage literature and then converted ml to drops you'd find that the amount used per pound of dog weight ranges between .90 and 2.27 drops per pound. Watch the decimal points, they are important. .90 is 9/10 of a drop or almost a whole drop. 2.27 is very slightly more than 2 1/4 drops. Essentially this means you can use between 1 and 2 drops per pound.

My suggestion is to start with 1 drop per every two pounds of body weight. If this keeps your dog flea-free stick to it. If not, raise it to 1 drop per pound of body weight the next time. If you still have a flea problem you could raise it to 2 drops per 3 pounds but only after treating your house (if the fleas in the house aren't dealt with they will keep getting on the dogs). Use a flea powder sprinkled on carpets and upholstery, wash all pet bedding, spray cracks and crevices in your house, then bathe the dog and raise the dose (if it has been a week since the last dose).

I apply Advantage to all puppies at 8 weeks, whether or not I have seen a flea on them. This will be noted on the medical record you get from me.

For anyone who would like to check my math the information below shows the sizes that Advantage comes in and how much is contained in each monthly application. I have used the information from the European labeling - which gives weights in kilograms rather than pounds - and I have entered the size in pounds next to it. I used this because it is more precise and conservative than the labeling for U.S. Residents. The standard print is from the label. The bold print is what I have converted or extrapolated. You will find similar info in every package of Advantage sold in the US with dog weight stated in pounds instead of kilograms.

Puppies and Small Dogs up to 4kg (8.8 lbs) 0.4mL (8 drops)  .90 drops per pound (for 8.8 lb dog)
Dogs 4kg-10kg  (8.8 lbs - 22 lbs)1.0mL  ( 20 drops); .90 - 2.27 drops per pound
Dogs 10kg-25kg  (22 lbs - 55 lbs) 2.5mL  (50 drops); .90 - 2.27 drops per pound
Large Dogs Over 25kg  (55 lbs) 4.0mL  ( 80 drops); 1.45 drops per pound (for 55 lb dog)

Note: 1 ml = approx. 20 drops  1 kg = 2.2 pounds

As always, don't take my word for it. If this doesn't make sense to you, show it to your vet and ask about it.  It is up to you to protect your dog from incorrect information (and there is LOADS of it out there). All of my information is well researched and well thought out but that doesn't mean your dog couldn't die from an overlooked typo.